On May 26, 2010, Secretary Clinton met with Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul, South Korea. After the meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"South Korea is a staunch ally, a friend, and a partner. And I want to thank President Lee for his hospitality and the very important discussions that we had today. The fortunes of our two nations have been bound together for many decades. We have stood watchful guard together for 60 years, vigilant in the cause of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the wider region. And for the United States, the security and sovereignty of South Korea is a solemn responsibility and a rock solid commitment. Our alliance is a source of strength and confidence, confidence that our two peoples will continue to enjoy security, prosperity, and shared progress in the days and years ahead.
"But this relationship extends far beyond our security guarantees. The United States has been a partner to the people of South Korea as they embrace democracy, and embark on a historic economic transformation. Our people trade and study together. Generations of American service members have come to know and respect the Korean culture. And Korean Americans have contributed significantly to the economic, social, and cultural life of the United States."
Secretary Clinton also commended the South Korean response to the sinking of the Cheonan and called upon North Korea to halt its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors. The Secretary said:
"When President Obama and President Lee first met last year, they committed to a joint vision statement for our alliance in the 21st century. That speaks to our desire to turn our bilateral relationship into a truly global partnership. And in our meetings today we discussed how we can continue building upon this vision, and further strengthen the ties between our peoples and our nation.
"But to seize the opportunities of tomorrow, we must first meet the challenges of today. As President Lee said in his strong and dignified speech to the nation, we cannot turn a blind eye to belligerence and provocation. Let me repeat publicly what I expressed privately to President Lee and Minister Yu. The United States offers our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the 46 sailors killed in the sinking of the Cheonan, and to all the peoples of South Korea. We will stand with you in this difficult hour, and we stand with you always.
"I applaud President Lee and his government for the firm, patient, and deliberate way that they have pursued the truth, and then formulated a response. The international independent investigation was objective, the evidence overwhelming, the conclusion inescapable. This was an unacceptable provocation by North Korea. And the international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond. The measures that President Lee announced in his speech are prudent. They are absolutely appropriate. And they have the full support of the United States.
"Over the last week I have consulted with leaders in Japan and China, and we have stayed in close contact with our friends here in Seoul about the best way forward. We will be working together to chart a course of action in the United Nations Security Council, and I want to acknowledge Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's strong statement on this issue.
"The U.S. and South Korean militaries have announced plans for joint exercises, and we will explore further enhancements to our posture on the Peninsula, to ensure readiness, and to deter future attacks. The United States is also reviewing additional options and authorities to hold North Korea and its leaders accountable. We call on North Korea to halt its provocation and its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors, and take steps now to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, and comply with international law.
"North Korea can still choose another path. Instead of isolation, poverty, conflict, and condemnation, North Korea could enjoy integration, prosperity, peace, and respect. Its people could finally experience a better life. We know this is possible. Here in South Korea we see it every day, the talent and creativity of the Korean people flourishing in a vibrant democracy. North Korea's future depends on the choices that its leaders make today.
"For our part, we remain resolute in our defense of South Korea, unyielding in our pursuit of justice, and determined to achieve security and stability across the Asia Pacific region. The alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea will continue to be a cornerstone of peace and prosperity for both our nations."
Read the Secretary's remarks with Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan here.